1814 and 1862

The American reader experiences a mild shock when reading into the ACW history of 1862 to see that Lincoln and Stanton at one point assumed military command in directing the armies, strategically and operationally. In our culture, this is just not done.

But the precedent was set in 1814, when the Russian and Prussian monarchs travelled with their campaigning armies, directing their movements and making all important military decisions. The Austrians, cooperating in the advance, lacked the advantage of an equal counterweight and had to suffer a certain amount of court politicking at HQ. (From Dominic Lieven) Field Marshal Schwarzenberg had this to say about Allied headquarters:
[I am] surrounded by weaklings, fops of every sort, creators of eccentric schemes, intriguers, idiots, chatterers and fault finders.
That's our presidential entourage in a nutshell, by the way.

Those interested in pursuing this compare-and-contrast should pick up Mikaberidze's The Russian Officer Corps in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, 1792-1815.The first sixty pages are filled with interesting data such as percent of officers owning serfs, officer literacy, social standing, etc.

My feeling is that the example of Napoleonic war affected the shaping of the role of General-in-Chief and the ability of civilians, such as Thomas Hart Benton, to contend for the role.